Following the original consultation from Aaron Clark with Stewardship Partners, and a site visit/classroom day with the Washington State University Extension program, the site was deemed adequate and ready to go. There were initial concerns about working in the garden due to it being in an area with high arsenic levels from past smelter plants but after a review of the site, the city of Tacoma acknowledged that the site was safe for digging. The workday had almost 40 people on hand and went from 8am to 8pm. Much of the very sandy soil was removed to make sure elevation was factored in to conserve water, make it permeable, and retain it in the garden, a process in OFG known as CPR. Followed by the excavation, which took the bulk of time, the plants were laid out and a few days later, rock was placed to complete the garden. While its been a brutally hot summer, the garden has maintained and continues to grow and evolve.
While the garden install and planting was mostly the result of a hard work by those taking the class, there were South Sound chapter members on hand helping to move dirt and get the plants in the ground. While reducing stormwater runoff to the street, another advantage to this garden is for educational tours for those interested in helping keep urban runoff out of the sound by installing their own garden. Recently a South Sound chapter meeting was held at the site, WA Field Manager Brice’s house, where members got to see the practices of OFG in a short tour of the garden.
This project came together through a variety of partnerships and shows the breath of people and organizations working on green infrastructure in Western Washington. OFG in the area will continue to grow as a new project in the East Ballard neighborhood of Seattle is scheduled for construction in late September and early October with the Seattle chapter contributing funds and bodies for the install. Keep a lookout for new updates regarding that project and for any questions related to the garden or OFG, please contact Brice.